A rare flower

The Lady Slipper or “Guckusko” in Swedish, is a wild orchid that is common but not abundant. So when I find them, it’s always a special treat as it is with most people I know.  This is a protected plant so picking them or moving them isn’t an option.

 

(Cypripedium Calceolus)_MG_8794

Looking for a home

A lonely princess on her own to find and build a kingdom of her own.

This picture gives me the feeling of new beginnings and a wonder to the unknowns we all face in our lives. Who knows what ever happened to this little queen to be. Hopefully she was able to find a nice, quiet pine to begin her life and start her colony. This photo was taken was taken on a cloudy day in an open field covered in dandelions and spring flowers,  surrounded by a forest of spruce and pine. There weren’t many birds around during this time so I like to imagine she was successful. This is a Wood Ant (formica polyctena)._MG_8768

I’m Back!

Summer vacation is here and I’ve had some time to think about how I will continue this blog. Although my greatest interest is the sun and it’s effects to earth and just the imagination of how everything works together in nature, my second greatest interest is photography and the constant challenge of outdoing myself in getting the ultimate shot.

 

My family and I just returned back from a mini vacation to Cyprus. It was a nice place to get some sun and have some fun with the kids but my acclimation to the arctic is never a great combination to hundred degree (F) weather. I never sweat so much. I did get a couple of nice photos but I’ll catch myself up and those who read this with the photos I’ve been taking before our trip. This will catch you up as well as give me something else to do while I’m on vacation in-between housework, yard work, playing with the kids and doing things with them and fishing. If it gets warm enough, we might even get to swim but that depends on the water temperature.

 

Enjoy. _MG_8247

We were lucky this summer to have a family of woodpeckers that took resident in one of our trees. This is a Great Spotted Woodpecker (dendrocopos major). They are still here and have had a male chick who still has a lot of his chick down and is a sloppy flier. Both parent woodpeckers have been feeding him and he also feeds himself. I’ve attempted to photograph him closer but they are very protective of him and give him the signal to get away as I approach with my camera. Hopefully one of these days, he will let me get him on record.

Inspiration failure

This past winter has not given a whole lot of aurora where I am. I do have a few shots that I have yet to post but overall when we had aurora, I had clouds. Quite a bummer so I may be changing what I initially wanted to do with this blog and expand it to my general photography. I suppose I could use a change but I sure do love the sun and what it does to the earth outside of warming it.

This was a coronal mass ejection from a few days ago. Its a great image and luckily will miss earth.

I’ll be contimplating this new take to the blog. Until then, stand by.

CME erupts incoming sunspot

After a very long and quiet period, we haven’t seen much from the sun, especially for CME’s. The first legitimate sunspot of 2017 is just now beginning to rotate into earth’s direction. Just before it did so, though, it released a pretty decent CME which thankfully will be missing earth. Judging from the recent past, I won’t be expecting that this sunspot will do much while facing earth. However, as it begins to rotate out of view, if it lives that long, it may give us another display of what it can do.

 

 

New Year Coronal Hole Stream

Things are calm at the moment but they’re about to heat up. The next incoming coronal hole is now facing earth. The earth’s magnetic shield is still a bit unstable as it tries to shed the added energy from the coronal hole that struck us last Wednesday, December 21, 2016.

The incoming coronal hole is an extension of the positive pole of the sun. We should begin seeing this affecting the magnetosphere on the 30th and depending where you are in the Northern or Southern Hemispheres, may see some aurora beginning late on the 30th but for sure on the 31st.

NOAA predicts that we will receive the aurora on the 30th.

On a side note, there is an interesting post that was made at space weather.com where a reader posted an interesting report about the progression of this particular coronal hole. He has it recorded six months back although these coronal holes are always there, they just haven’t been this large and spread open. Here is a graph that a man named Stuart Green made which shows the growth of the coronal hole and it’s almost clockwork effects on the magnetosphere. I recommend you stop by spaceweather.com and read it. Fascinating.

Eyes in the skies this New Year’s Eve!

coronalholes

Happy “birthday” Sol! 

As the earth was experiencing the last of the longest days of winter, the sun blew what may have been the last coronal hole kiss of the year. After having missed other nights of aurora due to cloud cover or life’s responsibilities, I finally got some time to see my favorite natural event. There was nothing exceptional about this coronal hole stream. It came from the positive coronal hole and mostly made for unstable conditions to the magnetic field for a couple of days. 

Now, as we head toward summer solstice I wanted to send my best wishes to anyone who reads this and to wish the sun a happy, now belated, birthday. 


The Night of the Bear

September 28, 2016 coronal hole stream. 

I can’t always catch the aurora when it happens and I missed a few days leading up to the current coronal hole stream being provided by coronal hole 764/765 which is a postive coronal hole and the largest we’ve had that I can remember.

 

Days preceding the effect from these conjoined coronal holes, the earth entered through the sun’s current sheet. This is a region where the sun’s magnetic polarity of positive and negative meet and this results in a flow of electric current which flows throughout the solar system within the heliosphere. The passing through this current sheet flipped the phi angle of earth’s magnetic field and put us into a two day, intermittent geomagnetic storm which spawned aurora. Unfortunately I was unable to capture this event. 


The night of September 27th, the effects of CH764/765 hit our magnetosphere. It was a warm night and would have been perfect for photographing had it not been for the clouds covering the sky. So another night missed. 

Then last night I was determined to capture whatever I could to document the event. I had planned earlier to go to a secret location up on a mountain top with my buddy but something came up for me and I had to back out. This turned out to be a blessing in disguise. 

Being the location is remote, my friend invited his brother in law to go with him. I was disappointed that I had to miss this because the view from this location cannot be beat. I turned to the meters to check the solar wind and the magnetic field and around 21:00 (9pm) I went to my local spot to snap a few pictures. Once again, it was a cloudy night but there were some holes in the clouds now and then. 

I took pictures for about twenty minutes and decided to wait another hour or two because the conditions weren’t that great. As I was packing my gear, my friend called. His voice sounded more high pitched and I sensed an emergence of terror. He told me they came upon a bear that roared at them and that they were almost to their car. Equipped with only a pocket flashlight, inside a spruce forest, there was little they could use to gain any bearing of direction. They ended up walking in a circle as humans do when we are lost and came across the bear again which made its presence known with another loud roar. It ended up roaring four times at them and my friend thought he was dinner for sure. The whole time he’s telling me this I’m thinking, “please don’t let me hear him being attacked”. 

They eventually made it back into the car and climbed in and we hung up. About an hour later we met up at our local spot and he told the story. He promised we will never go up there again but I think we will. We will just be better equipped with a jar of honey. 

All said and done, no one was injured and a great story was created. I’m very happy to have not had to live that experience. The story alone is enough for me. 

Here are a few shots from The Night of the Bear. 

August 24, 2016 Coronal Hole Stream. 

On August 24, 2016 the earth received a blast of negative coronal hole “wind” from CH756. I had been tracking this coronal hole since it was backside on the sun and at that time it was huge and center disk on the sun. I had big hopes that it would not close up before first affecting earth and I knew it was powerful because NASA’s enlil spiral model was showing it was powerful. This image was taken by the STEREO A satellite on August 10th. Shortly after this image the large filament shown snapped and created a huge CME, luckily not at earth.


As this coronal hole rotated around into earth’s neighborhood, the corona began to close down on it and shrunk it down but luckily not the center which would affect us the most. In this image, taken by NASA’s SDO, you can see CH756 on the left, center disk. This had me worrying that it would be completely shut down by the time it faced earth but I didn’t give up hope that it just might be open around the corner out of view.

As the coronal hole turned into earth’s direction, SDO was showing a more complete absence of the corona.


So I sat and waited anxiously under cloudy skies the following days. On the 22nd I noticed the magnetic field had shifted and something was about to happen but that evening it was too cloudy.


Then the late afternoon on the 23rd, the skies began to clear and by sunset, there were no clouds to be seen. Now it was a waiting game. Constant checking of the instruments monitoring earth’s space weather and magnetic field.
After I had gotten home from work I took a walk down to the water to see if there were any clouds and check the meters again. Here it was! What I’ve been waiting for for two weeks.


I said goodnight to my wife and kids and grabbed my gear and headed down to my spot. This is some of the shots I got.

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I was only out for about three hours. The geomagnetic storm continued but at my location, the nights are still pretty short as sunset and sunrise are only a few hours apart and we rotated out of the auroral oval.
In the end, the geomagnetic storm wasn’t as strong as I had anticipated but it sure was a beautiful show. A whole lot of movement and close stages of explosive illumanance followed by a plasma filled glow throughout the sky.

Coronal Mass Ejection for July

Update: July 22, 2015

This combined CME/Coronal hole came and went with some nice aurora for a couple of days. There was only one report of transformer issues reported in the news. The cause has yet to be determined although it happened while the earth was in a geomagnetic storm. 

Below are the readings from the event. As for spaceweather dot com’s headline of this being an unexpected CME bombardment, I find questionable since all the data clearly showed it was directed at earth. Also the description of earth passing through the CME isn’t correct since the CME is a canon blast for the sun which is equivalent to describing someone who is shot that they walked into the bullet. I don’t think that defense would work in a court room. 

http://sohowww.nascom.nasa.gov/data/LATEST/current_c3.gif
The sun just realeased some material. It doesn’t appear to be very dense but may increase the aurora for you Southern Hemisphere folks. I have both NOAA and NASA’s predictions.